Open standards needed for mobile Net, says consumer electronics chief

Texas Instruments chairman, president and chief executive Tom Engibou said this year could mark "an inflection point" in the use...

Texas Instruments chairman, president and chief executive Tom Engibou said this year could mark "an inflection point" in the use of mobile phones for Internet access, but the industry has to work together to make the mobile Internet work.

"Very soon, multimedia cellphones will be the predominant method for Internet access worldwide," Engibous said in a keynote presentation on the second day of the Consumer Electronics show in Las Vegas last week.

"Of course, to achieve the full potential will require continued collaboration across industries - from hardware and software, to distributors and retailers. We're all in this together," he added. "Closed systems must open up, or fade away. In other words, the mobile Internet calls for open standards and open platforms."

Texas Instruments is a large supplier of Digital Signal Processor (DSP) chips used in mobile phones, personal digital assistants, broadband networking devices and other electronics products. In mobile phones, for example, DSPs compress, refine and transmit digital data that is the transformed analogue voice.

"Consumer electronics has been a relatively small part of our business in the past, but it is going to be much bigger than that in the future," said Engibous. "Two years ago, signal processing played no role in PDAs as the devices had no connectivity and little in the way of multimedia. This is a huge transformation we are in the midst of."

The challenge for the future is to make components even smaller and more power efficient, said Engibous. He even predicted that one day a mobile device user could recharge the battery using body heat. "If you are alive, you're connected."

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